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How the new tax law affects home equity debt

If you’re considering getting a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC), make sure you understand how the tax rules have changed.

First of all, it’s important to clarify that acquisition debt is when money borrowed against your home is used to buy, build or improve a primary or secondary home. Home equity debt is when the money is used for something other than your home, such as paying student loans or funding a business.

Under previous tax laws, taxpayers could deduct interest on home equity debt – no matter what the money was used for – as long as the total mortgage debt was below $1 million, according to®.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspends this deduction unless the loan is used to “buy, build or substantially improve” a home, according to the IRS. Acquisition debt is still tax deductible, but the total debt limit was lowered from $1 million to $750,000.

Keep receipts from your home improvement projects and consult a tax professional to help you navigate your specific situation.

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Rachel Sheller, Principal Broker, Realtor, CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES, MASTERS CIRCLE, Earth Advantage Broker, Diversity Specialist-HOWNW, CSA-Certified Staging Agent, Oregon First, Washington First

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